God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel and said, “The sin of the people of Israel is great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.” -Ezekiel 9:9a
When God’s people did nothing about the bloodshed and injustice in their land, it marred God’s reputation. Their apathy misrepresented God to their neighbors as unfaithful and ignorant.
“They say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.'” -Ezekiel 9:9b
Years ago, studying Ezekiel, I was shocked to learn that God’s reputation is tethered to my action (and inaction). My life tells the world around me what God is like. Dwight Edwards explains the impact we have on God’s “name” or reputation this way:
“The great tragedy and heinousness of our sin is not primarily the destruction it brings to our lives but the crippling it brings to God’s name. Whenever a believer sins – whether it be the godless hedonism of license or the cold hardness of legalism – the worst result is that the glory of God is for that moment obscured; His name is made to limp. When our conduct nullifies our profession of God’s greatness, when our lives fail to reflect the presence of resurrection power, we profane God’s name.”
I read today about the shooting of Terence Crutcher. His car broken down. Police arrived. Terrence was unarmed and innocent. Hands in the air. Tased and then shot. His wife widowed. His children orphaned.
How many “isolated incidents” of white officers killing black citizens must there be before white Christians do something about bloodshed and injustice in their land? If our inaction continues, what will “they” say about our God?
But what can I do?
I’m at a loss for next steps. I have a great deal of compassion but no wisdom. I need help.
If you work in law enforcement, tell me what constructive action I can take? To support the majority of officers who are advancing justice impartially. And to hold accountable the many who are not.
If you are black, what can I do WITH you to bring comfort and real change?
Pastors, what is your church doing to combat injustice and to show your city that God has not forsaken it and is not blind?